Sunday, December 13, 2020 9:00 am
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
Something is happening in Nigeria that will make psychologists, physicians, political scientists, Jurisprudence experts, and others fall on one another to wax a theory. That is, the phenomenon of fainting spells in court, police custody, slammer of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and National Assembly. This happens when the chips are down and push comes to shove for some big people.
The Chairman of the defunct Pension Reformed Taskforce Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, was the latest in the fainting spells in Nigeria.
This time, Maina, who was extradited from Niger Republic after he jumped bail to continue his trial in Nigeria over an alleged N2 billion sleaze, collapsed in the dock on Wednesday, 10 December, 2020.
As we published on this platform, Maina collapsed just as the defence lawyer, Anayo Adibe, was telling Justice Okon Abang that his team had not receive records of proceedings requested from the court’s registry.
Maina’s fainting was preceded in July 2020 by that of the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei. That was during his presentation at the probe of the agency (alleged misappropriation of N81 billion) by the House of Representatives.
Senator Melaye’s fainting in January 2019 was not in court. He had a case with the Police but refused to present himself to them. So, since Mohammed could not go the mountain, the Police thought it had to be the other way round. They laid a siege to his house in Maitama, Abuja for over eight days. Still, he refused to surrender, not minding whether it was going to degenerate into the siege of Troy or Samaria!
However, the visit of Senators Murray Ben Bruce, Atai idoko and House of Representatives member from Rivers State, Boma Goodhead and his (Melaye’s) lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, changed all that.
Melaye came out, surrendered to the Police but collapsed in one heap. He was rushed to the hospital.
In July 2018, a former judge of a federal high court, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumobogia, slumped in Ikeja High Court where she was being docked by EFCC. That was over an alleged 31-count charge bordering on an alleged perversion of the course of justice, unlawful enrichment and forgery.
This forced the trial judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, to adjourn court proceedings.
Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Ekiti state, reportedly lost consciousness momentarily in July 2018 after cops allegedly fired teargas into the government house in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
Trouble started that 11 July 2018 when Fayose, a sitting governor came out the government house to challenge the Police for dispersing members of his People’s Democratic Party, who were holding a rally.
He alleged that the Police fired teargas at him and his men. He slumped and was taken to the state house clinic where doctors attended to him.
Before then, on 21 May 2018, there was another drama, involving Oilsa Metuh, a former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was standing trial over alleged N400 million money laundering.
He collapsed while in court. The judge, Justice Okon Abang, was undeterred as he ordered that the the eleventh witness in the trial, be called.
On 5 February 2018, Metuh showed up at the Federal High Court, on a stretcher.
The next before Metuh, was former Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic International Bank Plc, Cecilia Ibru.
In August 2009, she collapsed in court because, according to her lawyers, she battled “mosquitoes in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).” She was tried for 25-count of mismanagement of funds.
The king of them all was a former Police Inspector General, Tafa Balogun. He collapsed also on 30 June 2005 when EFCC cops allegedly kicked and dragged him on the floor. When he appeared in court, limping, he slumped and lost consciousness. However, Justice Garba Salisu who presided at the Abuja High Court where the case was being heard, was not happy with the Police.